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Ryan Anderson says Magic did not try to keep him last summer

Dec 26, 2012, 3:36 PM EDT

Ryan Anderson, Jarrett Jack AP

New GM Rob Hennigan’s plan in Orlando was pretty clear — trade Dwight Howard for prospects, get young and get cheap and free up cap space to start chasing free agents in 2014 (he might have pictured a high lottery pick in there too, but Jacque Vaughn has his team overachieving and playing hard). Hennigan’s plan is still intact.

That plan did not include Ryan Anderson — the NBA’s best stretch four was trying to find someone, anyone to pay him last summer.

It ended up being the Hornets but it was not going to be the Magic because they weren’t even trying to get him, Anderson told the Orlando Sentinel.

“Some people have the crazy idea that I wanted the trade and I wanted out of there, and that’s not necessarily how it went down,” Anderson said from Louisiana in a phone interview. “It’s a game, and I understand it and I am glad that I’m here. But I just want people to know that I wasn’t turning my back on the team or anything.

“The thing is,” he added, “Orlando didn’t even make a move at me. So it was a situation where every other team we spoke with thought that Orlando was going to match, and the only team that was willing to take that risk was New Orleans. It was just a real different situation.”

The Hornets signed Anderson to a four-year, $34 million contract ($8.5 million per season average). In trading him they got Gustavo Ayón.

What is strange about passing on Anderson is Hennigan then turned around and offered Jameer Nelson basically the same money, $8.6 million a year. The difference is it is a three-year deal and the Magic can buy out Nelson’s last year (for just $2 million) to free up cap space for the free agent chase in 2014.

But Anderson and his ability to score and space the floor likely would have been more attractive to free agents than Nelson.

  1. lastdukestreetking - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    I like Anderson well enough but $34M for 4 years is way overpriced for the Magic.

  2. norcaldeportes - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    The Kings should’ve signed him instead of Jason Thompson.

  3. tcclark - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    A 24 year old Power forward averaging 18 points and 7 boards a game while shooting over 40% from 3 is well worth 8.5 million a year. More than likely he’ll be better than anyone the Magic will get in the draft. Orlando made a big mistake.

  4. themagicfanguy - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    @tcclark No. They already have a low ceiling PF who is overpaid in Big Baby, even though he is playing well. Nicholson needs minutes and room to develop as well. They needed the to clear salary. He’s a good player, just bad timing.

    • tcclark - Dec 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Big Baby is playing well as you said and made a name for himself coming off of the bench, you don’t have to worry about finding him minutes. If you keep Anderson, you don’t need to draft Nicholson and you draft someone else where you have minutes. And if your trying to clear salary, you don’t trade for Afflalo (7.75 million over the next four years) and Al Harrington (6.69 million over the next 3 years), or sign Jameer nelson to an even larger contract than Anderson.

      Anderson is a special talent. Not that he is a perennial All-Star or anything like that, but finding a guy his size who can stretch the floor the way he does is an extremely hot commodity. He has a very good contract and has the ability to be a number 2 on a really good team. I don’t care who’s on your team, you don’t let a guy like that walk without even trying to keep him.

  5. themagicfanguy - Dec 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Wrong again. It all looks so simple to you in hindsight, but remember that at the time this decision was made Big Baby had just gone NUTS in the playoffs against IND. Also, Baby was already under contract. Not Anderson. Afflalo has more potential than Rhino, despite being a few years older. Jameer is the leader of the team, he’s the reason that the magic have such good chemistry and cohesion despite having a bunch of newcomers and rookies on the roster. I REALLY like Anderson, but he just didn’t fit in to the Magic’s long term plans.

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